Celebrating Taste of Iceland in Boston at Rialto Restaurant Hosted by Iceland Naturally 2014

Did not make it to The Taste of Iceland in Boston?  We had the chance to attend the annual event that highlights the best of Icelandic food, music, and culture.  This was the fifth iteration of Taste of Iceland for a five day event from Friday, March 18th thru  to Tuesday, March 22nd. We recommend making time to attend at least one or more of the events.

Some of this year’s events included

  • an Icelandic menu at Rialto restaurant in Harvard Square Fri 3/18/14 – Tues 3/22/14
  • a photography gallery reception at 555 Gallery on Sat 3/15/14
  • a concert called Reykjavik Calling at The Middle East in Cambridge on Sat 3/15/14
  • a Reyka Vodka Cocktail making class at The Liberty Hotel on Sun 3/16/14

Plus, there was a contest to win A Prize By Finding Taste of Iceland’s #IcelandSecret!  There were hidden Icelandic secrets throughout the weekend’s Taste of Iceland events. Partipants need to keep their eyes peeled at Rialto, The Middle East and elsewhere around Boston to discover secrets about Iceland. The idea was whenever you find a secret, share it via Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #IcelandSecret and #TasteofIceland – think of it as a digital scavenger hunt. At the end of the weekend, Taste of Iceland will pick a secret sharer and send them an Icelandic prize pack!

On Thursday, March 13th, we attended a preview Icelandic dinner menu sampling at Rialto restaurant. Foodies this was an event that you would not want to miss!  The Taste of Iceland was a collaboration between two chefs, American Chef/ Proprietor Jody Adams, winner of the Best Chef: Northeast James Beard Award and former Top Chef Masters competitor and Icelandic Guest Chef Hákon Örvarsson, winner of the Bocuse d’Or and World Culinary Cup.

We had a wonderful evening tasting the most delicious Icelandic food flown in from Iceland. First we enjoyed sipping a cocktail created for the event called Strawberry Mule.  The cocktail was delicious! Made with Reyka Vodka, strawberry, ginger, and lime.  We could really taste the ginger.

While we were sipping the cocktail Chef Hákon Már Örvarsson was back in the kitchen preparing the Icelandic dishes for us. 

Before the waiters came out with the menu sampling Chef Örvarsson came out to the group to explain the menu.  We were impressed to hear that the fresh ingredients flown in by Icelandair from Iceland all weekend. Below is the sampling that we had during the evening

Hors D’oeuvres was a served a tapas style dishes
  • “Harðfiskur” Icelandic dried-fish with butter
  • Grilled Icelandic langoustine tails with garlic and herbs
  • Cured Salmon in “Brennivín” with lemon-sour cream, cress and lumpfish caviar
  • Deep fried crispy balls of cod and potatoes with dill sauce
  • Pickled herring, sweet rye bread, curry dressing, green apples and spring onions

Everyone really enjoyed eatinng the hors d’oeuvres. Because we are Danish, many of the flavors we were very familiar with and really happy to eat!! It was such a treat! One of the highlights was to try the bite size appetizet called “Harðfiskur,” which Chef Örvarsson called “Viking Food.” It was of an Iceladic dried fish with butter. The butter was the key to this appetizer.

Next was the Dinner sampling

  • Icelandic Arctic Char with honey-grain mustard dressing, flan of horseradish, fresh herbs and dill oil
  • Seared filet of Icelandic lamb with glazed root vegetables, celeriac purée, juniper berry infused lamb jus reduction, dust of dried wild Icelandic herbs and blueberries
We really enjoyed both! Arctic Char is a fish we are able to get in Boston. So it was fun to have Arctic Char with a different twist.  Also the lamb was well-seasoned and succulent. In the video, Karen Grete spoke to Chef Örvarsson about the lamb and how she really enjoyed it.

Finally everyone received the refreshing dessert called  Skyr of the Vikings.  This was a a delicious refreshing treat to end the evening.  It was a mousse of the Icelandic Skyr and Skyr ice cream.  Served with apples and crispy oat – hazelnut crumble and cinnamon-flavored poached rhubarb.  We loved tasting a Skyr dessert. In the video you can here Karen Grete telling Chef Örvarsson that she loved the desset.  Skyr is an Icelandic cultured dairy product that is slightly thicker than yogurt and has a slightly sour dairy flavor, with a hint of residual sweetness.

We enjoyed the high quality of seafood that was just flown in from Iceland.  It was so much fun to have the opportunity to sample every element of the Icelandic menu.  Also it was really cool that chef Hákon Már Örvarsson was very accessible after the menu tasting.   We enjoyed the opportunity to talk the Chef about the dishes that was served at the event.

We had amazing time celebrating Taste of Iceland at the Rialto restaurant.  Great Icelandic food, and interesting people.  We hope to go to Taste of Iceland next year! So we recommend to check out The Taste of Iceland in any of the cities that has the event including Boston!
Check out our video to see some of the highlights at the preview dinner at Rialto restaurant and hosted by Iceland Naturally.


About Iceland Naturally
Iceland Naturally is a cooperative marketing organization that promotes the tourism, services, products and culture of Iceland. Comprised of Icelandair, Icelandic Group, Islandsbanki, Reyka Vodka, City of Reykjavik, Icelandic Glacial Water, Blue Lagoon, Keflavik International Airport (KEF), Landsvirkjun, Promote Iceland and the Government of Iceland.

About Taste of Iceland
Taste of Iceland is a festival highlighting the best of Icelandic food, music, and culture. Taste of Iceland in Boston is presented by Iceland Naturally in cooperation with Icelandair, Reyka Vodka, Blue Lagoon, Icelandic Glacial Water, Promote Iceland, Rialto Restaurant & Bar, The Middle East and WERS 88.9 FM.

For more information about Iceland Naturally and Taste of Iceland check out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram YouTube and www.icelandnaturally.com.

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